It took almost two years to finally get the green light, but Reuters photographer Rick Wilking was given near-total access to Newmont Mining's massive series of open pit and underground gold mines in northeast Nevada – one of the largest open-pit gold mine complexes in the United States. It's an industry few see in-person – and the results are in your jewelry and in almost any electronic device you own. A lot has changed in the 150 years since miners dug shafts into mountains chasing veins of ore.  Today’s gold mines are recovering gold that is sub-microscopic, totally invisible to the naked eye, comparable to smoke particles.  The methods they use to mine it involve moving millions of tons of earth and highly complex chemical processes to get it out of that rock. 27 PHOTOS

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